Ever since, Gilmore and other Virginia officials have tried to stop Sam Sloan from publicizing the fact that his mother and daughter were kidnapped by them.
Governor of Virginia and former Attorney General of Virginia
Gilmore was Assistant Attorney General of Virginia when he masterminded these kidnappings. Later he because Attorney General and now he is Governor. The Internet did not exist when Gilmore committed these crimes and probably he did not realize the easily his criminal acts could be revealed once the Internet arrived.
The bill, which Gov. James Gilmore has promised to sign, would make Virginia the first state in the nation to have the power to criminally prosecute people accused of spamming.
The measure would have far-reaching implications because about half of the nation's Internet infrastructure is routed through the state.
The American Civil Liberties Union said it expected to challenge the anti-spamming bill on constitutional grounds, but Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley said through a spokesman he would defend the new law. "Spam is a scourge on legitimate Internet commerce,'' Earley spokesman David Botkins said. "This legislation is crucial to the high-tech business community, and Attorney General Earley is prepared to help with its enforcement, where appropriate.''
Dulles, Va.-based America Online, which serves about 16 million of the estimated 50 million U.S. Internet users, has filed about 40 civil lawsuits under existing Virginia laws, associate general counsel Randall Boe said. But existing laws only allow the company to seek compensation for actual, not potentially higher punitive, damages.
"We have only been able to recover the cost of sending the e-mail,'' which is a very small amount, he said.
The anti-spamming law was backed by the governor's Commission on Information Technology, which in December presented recommendations for the nation's first comprehensive Internet policy.
The law makes illegal spamming a misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $500. "Malicious'' spamming, defined as causing more than $2,500 in losses for the victim, could be prosecuted as a felony.
Under the new law, America Online and other Internet service providers could sue the sender for damages of $10 a message or $25,000 a day, whichever is greater. A spammed Internet subscriber could seek similar damage amounts.
ACLU of Virginia's executive director, Kent Willis, said there was little evidence that spamming was enough of a problem to justify constraints on free speech on the Internet.
"Expression is protected in the commercial context as well as the noncommercial context, and no one has yet to come up with a valid or compelling state interest in limiting the way e-mail is sent,'' he said.